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Mine Creek Revelations: An Old Animal Tale

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(DEAR READER this was part of my column in the spring of 2010. I’m repeating it now because I don’t have the faintest idea what to write about this week.

The Bobby mentioned herein says that he no longer has any of those animals. He and Sheila just didn’t replace them as they were taken by natural attrition.

And I swear none of the animals were mistreated in the re-writing of this column piece.)

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BOBBY MILLER says he couldn’t stop laughing for the longest time.

This was after he read in this column recently about the multitude of dawn animal noises echoing through my north Nashville neighborhood.

I had written that I was fairly sure I had heard geese, horses, cows, roosters, yap dogs and wild turkeys. I had assumed that some of the sounds were divided between wild animals in Janice Huffman’s pasture, and others from various rural homes and/or farms farther away.

Nope, he proudly chuckled. They’re all mine.

Bobby allowed as how the “yap” dogs were his, except that they’re not yap dogs. They’re big ‘uns, Great Pyrenees, as a matter of fact. It’s a big dog. You could throw a saddle on a Pyrenees. But you and your next-of-kin would be sorry.

Bobby is an expert when dealing with next-of-kin.

And the wild turkeys that excited me so? Well, Bobby says there are about 20 domestic gobblers living in an old chicken house at the Miller place just north of town. They’re not wild turkeys, and please tell hunters not to shoot into the chicken house.

He has two roosters that like to have a crowing contest to greet the dawn. He has not named them. Neither has he declared a winner.

I also heard cows. That’s right, Bobby says. He’s got both kinds — beef and dairy cattle.

Also, some donkeys and about 15 exotic goats. Neither the donkeys nor the goats make a lot of noise. Well, one donkey kinda does, but the others kinda don’t.

The dogs and the goats share another old chicken shed. Goats are quiet. As long as turkey hunters don’t shoot into the building. Or unless the geese honk too much when they fly in. That can get the goats stirred-up as you might imagine.

I may have heard an owl, but bobby swears he doesn’t have an owl. He hasn’t even heard one and he thinks I’m just making it up.

Otherwise, “You were hearing my very own little zoo,” he brags.

I asked: Do you ever get any complaints from neighbors?

“If someone calls to complain I tell them that the animals belong to Sheila,” he says rather smugly.

He’s telling the truth, Sheila says. And he’s not so much help taking care of the animals, either. Most of the work is done by Sheila and their daughter, Taylor.

Bobby is pretty good at supervision and witty comments.

He would do more if he could just catch his breath from laughing at the newspaper columnist’s ignorance.

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(Old column continued) AN OBITUARY last week in the “Texarkana Gazette” had a Nashville connection even if our town wasn’t mentioned.

Chester Chandler “C.C.” Barnett of Texarkana died and was buried at age 88. Even up into his mid-80s CC kept working, and he frequently called upon the Tyson plant here on behalf of a Shreveport chemical company.

I always knew when CC was in town because one of his big old Cadillacs would be taking up two parking spaces at Western Sizzlin where he loved to take lunch.

CC was a vintage car collector, noted for his big fin preferences. He once told me that he liked to take one of his lunkers out on I-30 early on Saturdays and stir up the dust to New Boston and back at 120 mph.

His “CC” nickname was ironic because he was a staunch Baptist and wouldn’t dream of taking a drink (for you other staunch teetotalers, “CC” is also the abbreviation for Canadian Club rye whiskey which some hell-bound people take internally).

It was this Baptist connection that linked CC Barnett and me.

Jane and I stopped at his house a few years ago to gawk at the old Cadillacs that lined the driveway. He waved us onto his property and gave us a tour of all of his vintage cars. He was a most friendly, affable gent.

I introduced myself and he began laughing.

He said that a few years earlier he had bought some old Downtown Baptist Church meeting records that had found their way into a garage sale in Texarkana. Noted in the records was a church meeting in which several couples were expelled from the membership because they had gone to the opera on Sunday.

One man in the audience had fallen asleep during the meeting. When the “churched” couples got up to leave, the sleepy guy assumed the meeting was over and he got up and left, too.

The secretary thought that the man was quitting the congregation to show sympathy for the expelled couples.

When everything was straightened out, the meeting was called to order again, and the man was re-admitted to the congregation in good standing.

His name? Louie Graves, my paternal grandfather and namesake.

Even Bobby Miller would find it hard to believe that a teetotaler Baptist is in my ancestry. 

=—-= — =

THE TWINS: Dumb and Dumber. Some college football fans’ opinion of the committee that picked the playoff ‘Final Four.’ Not me.

=—-= — =

SWEET DREAMS, Baby

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